February 6, 2013
"The Man with the Iron Fists" is a complicated story set in feudal China, about a gold treasure, the various gangs going after it, a black Blacksmith (rapper RZA of the Wu-Tang Gang) making fantastic blades, a British mercenary (a very corpulent Russell Crowe), a superhuman warrior with a Brass Body (the imposing Fil-Greek wrestler Dave Bautista), and the Madam of their favorite brothel (Lucy Liu). As you watch, it was rather hard to tell who was the lead character at the start since it seemed to be focusing on all of these people equally. Then at the end, you would scratch your head to figure out what one character had to do with another.
As you may have noticed, it was rather hard to write a smooth synopsis. This was quite a disjointed story line with so many characters with tenuous and unclear connections. However, the elements are there that could have made it a really good film. It was too bad that the project was not handled by better hands. The direction and writing by RZA (his first time, I believe) seemed too haphazard. He seems to be more concerned with pulling off one graphic violent scene after the other, rather than effectively telling a cohesive story. To his credit, his camera angles were all very imaginative though.
It is not as bad as reviews would have you think. It is an ultra- violent martial arts extravaganza as RZA's hero Quentin Tarantino would have done it. This was obviously inspired by the audacity of Tarantino's "Kill Bill" but not done with the latter film's focused storytelling technique. Employing anachronistic rap music during the fight scenes is also a Tarantino style obviously adapted in this film, expected since RZA is foremost a rapper. Be ready to see body parts being chopped off, bellies being gutted, blood gushing out like fountains, the works! This was not rated R-18 for nothing. If that type of gory violence makes your stomach churn, then do not watch this.